Different points of view

Society News & Info, What’s Happening

By Craig Sparkes

Recently, I’ve been involved in a lively discussion regarding two sides of the automotive “restoration” motivation. By that I mean what are the aims and enjoyment of folks who restore their muscle car or sports car or Jeep or truck? Seems like we have two vastly different schools of thought.

The first is the increasing popularity of “frame off” “rotisserie” restorations. A car owner meticulously restores or replaces (with original parts) virtually every nut and bolt on his car — even down to paint overspray and chalk marks in an attempt to make the car look exactly like the day it was assembled. In many cases far better than the day it was assembled. What is the purpose and joy in this? Talking to folks who’ve done, it boils down to looking at the car as a work of art. And like a work of art, the car will be displayed — both in a custom garage at home and at car shows where it will be judged. After a time — like all works of art that are collected — it will be sold and another “work of art” will be purchased and the cycle repeats. For the serious and wealthy collector, this can lead to private collections housed in public or semi-public showrooms.

The second school of thought is the car owner who restores their car, truck, Jeep whatever to new or “two-year-old” condition. These owners are not concerned with re-creating chalk marks or using correct hose clamps or even using non-OEM parts such as newer exhaust systems, tires, and wheels, or correct paint code colors. They want to re-create and experience the essence of these cars — the driving experience. They will drive their cars frequently and even, in the case of a high-performance car, take it to the track and run it hard. These cars will be maintained as they were when new. They will be washed, waxed, tuned, and vacuumed. The interiors will be cleaned, but the undersides will accumulate normal road dirt, grime, and oil. The exhaust system may have some surface rust. The tires will wear. After a time of enjoyment, these owners will sell their cars and start the process anew. Some will own more than one but most will never have a collection.

So, and this is the debate, which group is “better”? The answer is both. The serious car collector is enjoying the car as an object of art and an investment. It could be a rare coin collection or painting or vase. It just so happens the collector is into cars. And because of this, more shops have experience working on older cars. Reproduction parts are readily available and even the most woebegone relic can be saved. The second group takes advantage of all this and keeps these beauties on the street. So now the car enthusiast can see neat rides at car shows — in all their restored beauty — or on the street/track doing what they were made to do.

Now, it doesn’t matter if we think one or the other side is wrong”. We need to understand their motivations and take advantage of their efforts. As someone once told me — “Whatever blows your skirt up” !!

Eric White Digital Library

Follow Us


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This